Les Moutons de Panurge

for open instrumentation
By Fredric Rzewski
American

Les Moutons de Panurge is inspiredby Rabelais’ fable of Panurge’s sheep, who follow each other blindly off the side of a ship. Here the performers are given a tune and instructions on how that tune is to be repeated. Not unlike well-intentioned sheep, the players begin together in perfect unison. However, as each player begins unintentionally “falling off” the tuneone at a time, what results is an increasingly chaotic, semi-improvised counterpoint.

The work is dedicated to Frans Brüggen, and was completed in March 1969.

“[W]ithout a constant misuse of language there cannot be any discovery, any progress. ”
--Paul K. Feyerabend, Against Method